Pre-School Graduation Day Celebration

Pre-school Baobab Foundation
'Graduation' for pre-school! The EcoProducts Baobab Foundation support a number of pre-schools in various villages in the area. We believe this a vitally important aspect of early childhood development that urgently needs our attention and funding in order to break the poverty cycle. Now the children we've been helping to support are ready to 'graduate' to 'big' school!

50 new trees Baobab Guardians celebration!

Baobab guardians

Our big event celebrating planting 50 baobab trees was a huge success!  The purpose of the event was firstly to celebrate and make heroes of the Baobab Guardians, thereby inspiring others to also plant trees. Secondly, it was to present certificates to those Guardians whose baobab seedlings have almost reached 3 metres in height which means they are able to survive on their own in the wild.  Thirdly, it was to launch our Baobab Booklet The Little BIG Baobab Book and offer it to the schools in the area.

The event was held at Mammbeda’s Church in Zwigodini village.

The event was attended by many of the Baobab Guardians, Headmen and representatives from three villages, Zwigodini, Mukovha wa Bale and Muswodi Dipeni Villages. It was also attended by 5 LEDET  (Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism) officials, 3 Wits University students and 10 University of Venda students from the Universal Greening Organization (a student environmental group).

Baobab Guardians with their certificates

It was a wonderfully vibrant celebration shared by all with much singing and dancing throughout the day. There were many memorable moments:   When Sophia Nephumbada received her certificate, it was a particularly proud moment for her. She can’t read or write and has never been to school. This is most likely the first certificate she has ever received in her life.  Receiving it made her feel as if her contribution had truly mattered and she was deeply moved.

Baobab Guardians
Sophia-Nefumbada receiving her certificate

Why are we doing this?

This is what Dr Sarah Venter said in her speech to the gathering:

“Unless we protect the baobab seedlings ourselves from domestic livestock and animals, baobabs will go extinct in the next few hundred years. Our descendants will not know what this tree is. This is why the work that these Baobab Guardians are doing is so important for our heritage and our future.  Lets protect the baobab tree and be proud of it. Let us learn about it and show the world our heritage.

In addition to celebrating the baobab guardians, we are also launching the Little Big Baobab Book. Each one of you has a copy and I will be giving copies to all the schools in Niani for the children to read and the teacher to teach about the baobab.

Let us all read the book and let us add our own knowledge of this tree and let us tell every one in the world our story of our Baobab.

I did not write this book in Zulu or in Xhosa or in Sotho. This tree does not grow in the places where these languages are spoken.  I wrote the book in TshiVenda, because it is OUR tree!

This book can help us grow our knowledge of the tree, so that we can show people of the world that: The baobab is our Lion, The baobab is our Elephant, The baobab is our Leopard, The baobab is OUR HERITAGE. This is why I decided to share my knowledge and write a book on baobabs for the people of Niani.  A book that can be understood by everyone, the children and the adults in Niani”

Mr Khuthadzo Rantsana who respresented Muswodi Dipeni Village applauded the baobab guardians saying that they were an inspiration to all of us. He recommended that children be encouraged to plant baobab trees as well and join the baobab guardians program.

I would like to invite everyone to follow the example of these exceptional men and women, the Baobab Guardians. Let us all become Baobab Guardians ourselves and encourage others to likewise take action to protect the future of our magnificent heritage and be part of contributing to a Culture of Caring. .

Many thanks to Vhembe Biosphere Reserve who donated towards all the costs of the event and Oasis Water who donated water to the event.

baobab guardians        Baobab guardians


Related posts:

Read about our final tree planting event here.

Find out more about our Baobab Guardian project here.

Read more about the Launch of our Baobab Booklet, The Little BIG Baobab Book here

We did it! 50 baobab trees planted!

baobab guardians
We're thrilled to announce that what began as a dream in November 2013 has become a reality today! We have planted 50 baobab trees in the wild thanks to the help of our wonderful sponsors.  Baobab trees can live to over a thousand years old, are tough and sturdy and can survive near desert-like conditions. So why do we need to nurture baobab seedlings until they are strong enough to survive in the wild? 

EcoProducts gets FSSC 22000 certified!

FSSC 22000
EcoProducts Baobab fruit powder production facility has been certified FSSC 22000.  FSSC 22000 Food Safety System Certification is a highly regarded level of food certification that meets global standards.   FSSC 22000 is fully recognised by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)

Talk with Enviropreneurs

There are entrepeneurs, solopreneurs, socialpreneurs. And then there are enviropreneurs! In April 2017 I was invited to give a talk on Enviropreneurship to students from the University of Venda.

2017 April: Thank you LTT Bolt & Nut

Thank you to LTT Bolt & Nut for their generous donations to the Baobab Foundation. Pre-school creches are sadly neglected in these rural areas of the Limpopo so it's always great news when we receive donations for much needed equipment and facilities.

2017 Jan: Baobab Guardians: tree keepers of the future

Baobab Guardians
Since baobab trees often only begin producing fruit after 200 years, this has to be one of the most far-reaching into the future sustainability projects around! Our thanks go to Melissa Krige of African Tree Essences for sponsoring a baobab seedling via our EcoProducts Foundation.

2017 Jan: donation brings joy to Tshedza & Zwigodini creches

We're so grateful for the generosity of Nancy Nehoray who has donated to two Pre-school creches in rural areas of the Limpopo. Creches and pre-schools are sadly neglected when it comes to basic resources for the children. So it's always BIG news when we receive donations for much needed equipment and facilities.

2016 Aug: The Little BIG BAOBAB Book

Inspired by her PhD research on baobab trees, Dr Sarah Venter wanted to make the fascinating information usually available only in obscure scientific papers, available to a much broader audience including children. The Little BIG BAOBAB book is for everyone who loves baobab trees...

2016 Jun: World Desertification Day

Baobabs live in savannah ecosystems many of which are threatened by desertification. Although baobabs have an incredible ability to survive dry conditions they too are affected by desertification. What can we do?

The Marvellous Brewers of Marula Beer

Each year marula beer connoisseurs make their annual pilgrimage to the far reaches of Limpopo to visit their favourite master brewers of marula beer. It's a womens' traditional craft and in order to get a taste of each woman’s brew you need to go 'homestead hopping, visiting one home after another. Each one is different and this year Sarah Venter did her own tour of marula beer mavens and found out a few secrets along the way.